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National foreclosure activity continues to fall

You don't have to be a real estate expert to understand just how bad the market conditions were during the height of the recession several years ago. Depending upon where you happen to live, a simple trip around the neighborhood may have been sufficient. Failing that, a brief scan of the real estate listings probably would have given you all the evidence you needed.

The good news, however, is that the real estate market has continued to improve, meaning foreclosures are down, and both home sales and home prices are up.

To illustrate, consider some of the national numbers in a recently released report from the real estate firm RealtyTrac:

  • Foreclosure filings (repossessions, auctions, default notices, etc.) were down 32 percent on a year over year basis last month
  • Foreclosure starts, meaning the initiation of the foreclosure process, were down 38 percent on a year over year basis last month

In addition to these rather encouraging numbers, the report found that national foreclosure activity will likely return to its pre-recession levels by early 2015 based on the falling foreclosure rate of the last three-plus years. In fact, at least 12 states have already seen this happen thanks to strong local economies and favorable market conditions.

The news wasn't all good in the RealtyTrac report, however, as it found that certain states whose laws and court systems have kept foreclosures on the backburner for several years are finally starting to see them come through the system.

To illustrate, the following states saw massive jumps in foreclosure on a year over year basis: Maryland (275 percent), Oregon (137 percent), New Jersey (89 percent), Connecticut (37 percent) and New York (27 percent).

As we've discussed in previous posts, conditions are slowly but steadily improving here in South Carolina in terms of home sales and home prices. However, the foreclosure rate is still a long way from pre-recession levels. Here's hoping that conditions continue to improve ...

Source: USA Today, "Foreclosure activity down 32 percent year over year," Julie Schmit, August 15, 2013

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